Strong Towns Podcast
Episode 210

Sam Western

Charles Marohn published on

The American West is a unique and fascinating place. This week Chuck is joined by Sam Western, author, poet and correspondent for the Economist, to talk about the American West.

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  • Steven Lee

    For almost two years now I have been living in Canada's Northwest Territories in a small town. Every time I listen to Strong Towns or read an article Chuck writes I wonder how these lessons translate to a small town in the Canadian subarctic. This podcast was the first time I think that I listened to a podcast and I thought there were significant crossover between what's happening here and what the guest (Sam Western) shared about the American West. The territory is deeply dependent upon government assistance. A huge proportion of the population work directly for some level of government. Private industry is constrained to massive natural resource extraction (principally diamond mines at the moment) or small town businesses familiar in any town in the western areas of this continent. Still, the rural areas generally speaking have not been used for farming. Trapping is a small, but culturally important industry. Towns and small businesses struggle due to the limited size of markets and the astronomical cost of goods and high-skilled labour in this remote part of the world. Towns here face considerable challenges, that much is clear, and I am not sure how they make the transition to becoming truly strong towns.